The topic of Syrian refugees was one of the top news stories of 2015. Their arrival in Alberta and across Canada sparked conversations on immigration in Canada, particularly for those seeking asylum. Following up on refugees’ progress in cities is important for Canadians who wish to better understand the impact of these policies.
In Calgary, 3,800 refugees arrived during the harsh winter months. Besides the weather, new arrivals had to contend with the high cost of living and cultural challenges. Ninety percent of the refugees are learning English. Two thirds of them have obtained an Alberta driver’s license. They often struggle to find a place in the community and workforce.
There are a few concerns raised by immigration advocates. One is how social media connectivity may influence young Syrians’ ability to integrate in their new communities. Another is how women can access child care so they can take English classes.
Mothers of young children make up a large portion of the 10 percent of refugees not learning the language. The ability to speak English affects access to services as well as employment, which is another big issue. While privately sponsored refugees are employed at a rate of 40 to 65 percent, only 5 percent of government-sponsored refugees have found even part-time jobs in Calgary.
Migration for both refugees and other immigrants becomes a central topic of discussion for Canadians. Private sponsorship of refugees, visas for family members and other immigration-related issues have a lot of constantly changing legalities involved. An Alberta lawyer is a great resource for people who need legal support for anything related to immigration in Canada.
Source: Calgary Herald, “Calgary’s Syrian refugees: The progress, challenges and the road ahead“, Meghan Potkins, July 31, 2017